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December 8, 2010

Shorter than a tweet

The Crown Estates Act 1961 determines that the massive revenues soon to be generated by off shore wind power within Scottish territorial waters will be collected by the London based property company, Crown Estates Commission and thereafter passed onto the Treasury. The Scottish Government has just issued a consultation on proposals which aim to ensure Scotland’s communities are well positioned to extract maximum benefit. Andy Wightman writes in to propose a simple solution which is shorter than a tweet

The Scottish Government has today launched a consultation on proposals to ensure Scotland and its local communities benefit from renewable and low carbon energy developments. This is a welcome initiative. The document makes some interesting points but it is evident that the limitations of devolution are inhibiting the authors. I have blogged on this at length before on this topic.

Scotland’s crown lands are separate from England’s crown lands and they are public land defined by the Scots law of property. The only weird thing in the whole set up is that by law (the Crown Estate Act of 1961) these rights (which remember, belong to Scotland) are administered by the Crown Estate Commission in London who also collect all the revenues.

The simplest thing to do is to amend the 1961 Act to the effect that it does not apply to Scotland. This is something the Liberal Democrats who run Scotland in Westminister could effect pretty easily. The question is why MPs like Alastair Carmichael, John Thurso, Charles Kennedy, Alan Reid and Michael Moore are not doing this.

The amendment is shorter than a tweet.

Crown Estate Act 1961 Insert new Section 1(8) “This Act does not apply to Scotland”

All those who want to see control of the seabed and associated crown property rights return to Scotland should make this very simple observation to the Scottish Government in their response.